UN Report Emphasizes Role of Men in Eliminating Violence Against Women
Thursday, March 26, 2009 10:33 AM

In December of 2008, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women published a report entitled The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality. The report recognizes that the pursuit of gender equality requires the efforts of both men and women, and that achieving meaningful social change necessitates the involvement of both genders.

One of the main focuses of the report is the issue of violence against women. The report notes that "Because violence against women is rooted in gender inequality and discrimination against women, any effort to eliminate such violence must focus on the achievement of substantive equality between women and men...The involvement of men and boys in the struggle to transform gender relations and elimination violence against women is essential." (p.10)

The report goes on to analyze a number of the obstacles to successfully involving men and boys in this struggle. For example, in many sociocultural contexts, women's subordination is reinforced through the normalization of domestic violence, and the manner in which women are portrayed by the media and in educational curricula.

In order to overcome these challenges, the report identifies a number of ways in which men can be involved in the prevention of violence against women. Programs aimed at changing the behavior of male perpetrators of violence have been successfully implemented in a number of countries. Additionally, educational prevention programs involving men and boys have been effective in changing attitudes regarding violence against women. The report also notes that it is important for males providing services (such as health, counseling, or legal) to victims of violence to be properly trained in gender sensitivity. Finally, the report encourages men in positions of leadership to speak out regarding the issue of violence against women.

To access the full report, please click here.

Compiled from: The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality, United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (December 2008); Role of Men & Boys in Achieving Gender Equality - UN DAW, Women's UN Report Network (24 March 2009).